Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace likes to remind people that when the Busway in his city was first envisioned that there was no money. Likewise, when a Park and Ride was envisioned, there also was no money.
"I think there is a bus back there now," Wallace said triumphantly last week. "I believe we are standing on a Park and Ride."
FloridaCity, the Miami-Dade Commission and Miami-Dade Transit celebrated the grand opening of a new Park and Ride location in FloridaCity. The new Park and Ride sports 242 parking spots which are offered free to the South Dade community who would like to then hop on a bus going north towards Miami or south to the Keys.
"This facility is very pivotal because it gives the people of FloridaCity and South Miami-Dade a secure well lit beautiful location to go about working," said Wallace.
The Park and Ride came from a partnership with Miami-DadeCounty and FloridaCity. The Florida City Commission donated some of the right of way to the county.
Wallace went out of his way to thank the Florida City Commission for putting him in the position to do "good things for FloridaCity."
"I don't know how many basketball fans are here. When we talk about individual talent, Lebron James is the greatest basketball player on the face of the earth, and he told you so, without team work the job didn't get done," Wallace said referencing the current finals loss by the former Miami Heat star.
"I am very pleased that we were able to make this a reality to the southernmost part of the county, and I want you to know you have not been forgotten," said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss, whose District 9 includes all of Florida City. "I know everyone wants Metrorail and that's something that we'll look at, it's some heavy lifting- we gotta keep praying pastor."
Commissioner Moss was referring to Pastor Curtis Thomas who, in his invocation, added "as we dedicate this site we thank you in advance for the Metrorail that will soon come our way."
It provoked laughter among the dozens of county workers and political dignitaries who gathered for an early-morning ribbon cutting.
That drew out a hearty "Amen" from Miami-Dade Transit Director Ysela Llort, who reminded the crowd to also pray for a "bucket of money."
Getting the Metrorail to South Dade has been gaining vocal-steam for the past couple of months. Political leaders jokingly lament that all they hear about is "when are we going to get the Metrorail to South Dade" from their constituents.
Commissioner Moss for one doesn't mince words. He routinely says if the people want the Metrorail they are going to have to pay for it themselves.
"If we want our transportation system to improve we are going to have to pay for it. The Feds won't pay for it…they will help. The state won't pay for it…they will help. We have to do it for ourselves, we must chart are own destiny, be the captain of our souls," said Moss.
Raising taxes is always an unpopular move, but add to it that taxes were already raised for transportation expansion in the past, and tax payers might be unwilling to go along with another ride. Moss said as much in a February panel at Centro Campesino.
Improving transportation is a major pillar in improving South Dade's quality of life and economy. Both the Tomorrow's South Dade report and Commissioner Moss and Danielle Levine Cava's South Dade Summit call it intricate.
Wallace is also quick to add a light rail system to his list of unfunded goals that will come to fruition.
"When it comes to light rail for FloridaCity, I think that that day will also come," he said. "We have a saying in FloridaCity about impossible: first you recognize that it is impossible, understand that it is impossible, then go out and go do it anyway."